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Friday Fun: $100k Challenge

Ross Ballot February 17, 2017 All Things Hoon 26 Comments

It’s a theoretical that, as an enthusiast, is among the most fun things to ponder: one-hundred thousand dollars magically appear in your bank account, and the car fairy says you have to spend it all on cars and car-related activities. Pretty freakin’ ideal, right? That hundred-k goes a long way though, longer than you think, leaving you with a dilemma: do you spend it on one massively depreciated supercar and two beaters, or divvy up your funds and spread them out in order to achieve maximum bang and excitement for your buck?

Let’s go with the latter rather than the former: three cars, regardless of how questionable they are, are almost always better than one…and especially so when you have an imaginary $100k to spend on them. So let’s pretend that the fantasy has come true, that one’s bank account is suddenly a hundred-thousand fuller, and it has to be spent on cars. The dream, though it is very much so, has come true. What would you spend it on? I know what I would do with mine…in this moment, at least.

If only fantasies were reality, right? My brain is far too capable of imagining what I would do with a huge chunk of change should I somehow come into a sizable load of money: cars. The answer is cars. And trucks. Many, many of them. But for theoretical shit’s sake, let’s limit that to three, so that we’re not dealing with a dozen of F-Body Camaros or an S197 spec series. Three cars to spend a magical $100K on, with a little left over for auto-related shenanigans. What would you do? I know what I’d do.

Source: Road and Track

First pick: Flyin’ Miata — Estimated Price: $30K

If this is the first time you’re hearing about this, you’re missing out on what is the modern equivalent of the legen-waitforit-dary Shelby Cobra. Take one unsuspecting Mazda NC Miata, add an LS engine out of a Corvette or other performance-V8-bearing GM model, and combine them: suddenly, greatness. With the lightness of the MX-5 matched with the naturally aspirated high-power glory of a pushrod V8, the Flyin’ Miata is effectively the best parts of a Miata and of a Corvette taken to the extreme. Figure $10-15k for a nicely cared for NC Miata, the cost of the swap, and the suspension to handle it, and let’s call it $30k all-in. Very, very high on the “want” list…if not the highest.

Source: ARB

Second pick: Toyota Land Cruiser — estimated price: $20-30k w/mods

So let’s say that you’re into off-roading. And not just off-roading, but long-distance travel to get to said off-road trail, and not just driving said off-road trail but also camping along one’s journey and also being able to do all of the aforementioned actions in quite a bit of comfort. There may be many options, but one reigns supreme: the Land Cruiser. While a Range Rover may be more “appealing,” the LC has it beat in terms of reliability and the ability to not only camp out of it, but to make into a livable and extremely capable off-road vehicle. $20-25k will buy you an absolute ton of truck, and that leaves $5-10k for mods and maintenance. V8, leather seats, Toyota reliability, comfort galore, big-time off-road prowess…what else could one want? It’s what my 4Runner dreams of being when it grows up.

Third pick: 2nd gen. Cadillac CTS-V

At this point, you have an imaginary $40-$50k to burn. A hell of a lot of change left over, enough to buy five fun cars and be satisfied. But one prospect has a huge dollar-to-fun quotient, a car which has a supreme level of comfort and an even higher shock factor: the second generation Cadillac CTS-V. Like the above-mentioned Miata, the V’s heart beats Corvette, though here it beats to the tune of a supercharged 6.2-liter LSA engine mated ideally to a six-speed Tremec TR6060. When I fantasize about driving around in comfort but knowing in the back of my head that the car I’m driving packs a massive punch, that fantasy always comes back to a 2nd-gen V. The 556 horsepower are likely enough to make you forget about some questionable interior materials, and the subtlety of the car itself is of a similar ease as is dropping down a few gears and putting any car that challenges you in your mirrors. $30-35k buys you a nicely cared for, decent condition sedan, while coupes can be found for slightly more and the wagon (“Vagon”) commands a decent premium, solidfying it as the final choice in the three-car, hundred-grand imaginary garage. A dream car, the V very much is.

What to do with the leftover cash: track days and off-roading galore

Being that we made up the parameters of this game, I would put my remaining moolah towards the things that would make owning the above-mentioned vehicles worthwhile: track days and off-roading trips. With a hypothetical $10k left to drop on whatever event or adventure may be worth the while, there’s a lot of money that can be spent towards making owning these vehicles as fun as it they would be rewarding. A guy can dream.

Honorable mention: Lexus LC500 + $5k Miata + $5k XJ Cherokee

Okay, I’ll admit that this is entirely a result of my Lexus LC love affair. Pictures are consistently being released as the LC500 as under actual journalists’ review out in Hawaii as we speak, and the car is turning out to be not only even more stunning than I thought but better driving than expected…as far as I can tell from initial reports, at least. Figure an LC500 is $90k, that leaves $5k for a Miata and $5k for a modified Jeep XJ. Perfection, indeed.

Ah, fantasy. Not just fantasy though, but automotive fantasy. Ask me again in a week and the above choices for “what would you do with one-hundred-thousand imaginary dollars?!” would, without question, be different. Actually, ask me again in a few hours and it would involve different choices. But it’s a theoretical that us enthusiasts love to play out in our mind, and as such we’ll happily roll with the prospect of it. Say what you say, if a hundred-grand landed in your bank account and you were forced to spend it on three cars, you would be happy to spend it on a trio of your own dream cars. So how would you use it? Sound off in the comments to voice your vehicular low-level lottery-winning dreams.

Lede image courtesy of Insurance Tips and Rates